another set back. writing this from sick bed in St Andrews. am christening the bug New Persistent Variable Virus. it needs lots of rest, weeks of rest and patience.

but, before symptoms recurred I did manage a wander around Lumbo den, the tree-filled ravine the burn runs through just round the corner. it is a beautiful spot, trees left to manage themselves.

they grow and they fall

their canopy fills the sky above my head

beech mostly

fallen trunks decomposing

beech trees, which are common in these lower parts of Scotland, must have been planted in the first place, since they are not native to Scotland

there are also sycamores which will have turned up by themselves I expect,

and ash trees, plus some oaks.

the beeches look to be the oldest and are certainly the most beautiful

they live to over 300 years, so perhaps some landscape improver put a few in here in the seventeenth or eighteenth century –

this is an ash, which is also quite common in the Lowlands.

at each end of the den there are ancient willows next to the burn; this one has a huge hollowed trunk, mostly dead, with what is still a very large tree sprouting from one side of it … the remains of a pollard.

I have walked through by the high path

so I return by the low one along the edge of the burn, which booms and chuckles over its rocky bed

one wonders if there’s been any landscaping done here at some point; the stream definitely seems to fall over a series of rocky steps, all the way down past the houses, which are relatively new, late sixties housing estates.

it’s a sunny afternoon and the trees cast giant shadows, the sun on my back.

very early spring – there’s a robin singing, great tits calling, crows’ conversations and jackdaws.

I see a grey squirrel – though someone I meet says she saw a red in Spinkie den, the next one along.

the trees next to the burn reach out for the light sideways, as there are few trees on the other side – mostly thorn bushes and tall tangled flowering plants

several have fallen across the burn

vulnerable with their balance tilted

this one may have fallen this winter

the grip of their roots undermined by rain wash down the steep slope

it makes for a rich habitat though

somewhere to wander and feel as if the real world is a hundred miles away.

at any rate a little wilderness where deer come and the birds thrive

guarded by its wrecked multiple trunked willows sprawling across the channels of the burn at its gate.